Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week one

I arrived in Amman last Sunday, and it's been a long and very good week. Orientation was boring but necessary I suppose, and on one of the days we got to go to the Dead Sea. Everyone was talking about how beautiful it was and I will say that it technically was, because it was freaky to realize Israel was just on the other side and I was at the lowest point on earth, but the pictures I took are hideous and not worth posting, ever. It was salty and it hurt my cuts on my body, but I floated very well. Cool.

Since the dead sea I've wandered Amman and gone to the Citadel, which are a pile of ancient ruins from the Romans, Byzantines, and Umayyads, in some order. It was cool and located right in the center of the city, which is strange. Also, you can walk all over them, because apparently no one cares about maintaining the piles of very old rocks.
My apartment is enormous and absurd looking, which I like very much. All of the girls have good apartments, and I will probably not be able to see the boys' apartments ever because that's against middle eastern rules.

Things are awkward being a girl, because although I don't have to dress as modestly as one might assume, there are lots of rules that I'm not used to. We are told to ignore all conversation by taxi drivers because that is showing them that I have honor and they will like me for that, but when someone directly asks you a question is is really strange having to look out the window and ignore them, so I'm not doing too well. I guess I have no honor, but I'm American and white so I'm probably  a prostitute anyways. You can't get into the left side of the taxi because its "dishonorable" too. Men literally stop their cars to look at us, or leer at us, or whatever, and everyone says things as we walk by but I don't understand what they're saying. The only phrase I know they always shout out of cars, from balconies, etc. is "WELCOME".. which isn't very offensive, only weird. Today we noticed a car with a young creepy looking man following us, so we stopped outside another apartment than ours and waited while he circled around trying to find where we lived, but that's manageable. My doors lock. Free drinks at the bars (which they have here, because drinking is legal, and the legal age is 18, so I'm allowed to write this in this blog) are the upside.

I have nothing more to say, except that I love it here, I've found an amazing group of friends, my classes aren't hard yet, and my Arabic is barely improving. There was a cockroach in my shower once, or twice, but that's okay. I am in the Middle East, so I think I can manage a few animals.

STRAY CATS ARE EVERYWHERE and the girls who live above me kidnapped one and have it in their apartment, despite the fact that it definitely has rabies/scurvy/lime disease/swine flu/whatever.

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